Three feet above...

David-the-Artist-Pastor spoke this week about "thin places."

There is a Celtic saying that heaven and earth are only three feet apart, but in the thin places that distance is even smaller. A thin place is where the veil that separates heaven and earth is lifted and one is able to receive a glimpse of the glory of God. Think about the wonder you feel seeing a particularly spectacular sunset, the magic of a baby's laugh or standing beside a mountain stream.

Dr. Bill Gillham--who I worked for in college--always used to say you should picture heaven as being three feet above the ground instead of somewhere beyond the stars when "setting your mind on things above." (I didn't know he was communicating a much older idea.)

I think it was shortsighted that "heaven" in my early religious education was communicated all in white and gold on flannel graphs. It occurs to me that the God who created the intricately beautiful earth must have created heaven with at least as much love and careful design. (Sitting on the metal chair in Sunday school making up pictures in my mind from the designs in the tile, I was pretty sure that heaven would be excrutiatingly boring.)

Now, as an adult, it is infinitely beautiful to think about the are places where heaven and earth touch. The random rose growing through my back fence where everything else is dead. The way the air smells in Tahoe. A funny phone exchange with John that makes me feel like someone on the planet actually "gets" me. A smile from a gate agent in an airport on an otherwise dismal day.

Sometimes things really are "on earth as it is in heaven." I like the idea of seeing those as the "thin places."
© Random Cathy
Maira Gall